Prose and Poetry in 4Q371-373: Narrative and Poetic Compositiona,b,c
Two of the related difficulties confronted by Eileen M. Schuller and Moshe J. Bernstein, the editors of these texts formerly known as the "Joseph Apocryphon," were those of genre and nomenclature. The fragments of the three related manuscripts offered material which appeared to be generically diverse and topically unrelated. As a result, the somewhat "prosaic", unenlightening, and not terribly descriptive title "Narrative and Poetic Composition" was selected for it. Although the manuscripts are extremely fragmentary, with the exception of 4Q372 1, one of their most striking features is the fact that they contain poetic material side-by-side with prose. In this brief paper, I shall examine the nature and style of the poetic material which is contained in these fragments and then attempt to address the questions generated by the juxtapositions between the prose and the poetry as it relates to the typology of the manuscript and perhaps other Qumran works as well.